Fallen rider detail from the Van Bergen Overmantel, at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown.
Last Friday, my son and I tapped our maple tree for the heck of it. We got a $2.99 plastic tap (they were out of metal), drilled a 5/16″ hole into the tree (four feet off the ground and 1.5 inches deep) and there it was: clear watery sap. We hung a metal bucket off the tap and covered the bucket with a piece of plastic, leaving a small aperture to catch the drip.
1. We started 1-2 months later than recommended.
2. With a sugar maple, you need 40 parts sap to make 1 part syrup. We have a Norway maple, which is 60:1. Assuming we can collect 5 gallons of sap, that’ll yield a mere half-pint of syrup.
3. The bucket blew off the tree and we lost a big puddle’s worth of sap.
4. We need to boil the sap down, but doing that inside will flood the home with maple-scented humidity. So we need to experiment with fire. This weekend, if all goes well.